Your team may view accounting as a chore. How do you get them interested in the numbers?
According to a survey by TD Bank, 46% of small business owners say that bookkeeping is their least favorite task.
Despite a general dislike for accounting, most owners understand how important it is for their business. It helps them manage finances, capture expenses, track profitability, monitor cash flow and assess solvency, to name but a few benefits.
The problem is that your employees may not see it that way. They may view accounting as just another task. For them, the numbers might seem arbitrary. Salespeople only care about sales. The technical department only cares about technical issues. Customer support only cares about customer needs. And so it goes.
How do you change this perception? How do you get people to look at the numbers and engage in accounting?
The key is to get your team to see how their work makes a difference in your business. How it contributes to business results and improves the bottom line.
Do that, and they’ll feel more engaged and motivated. They’ll align their work with business results and take ownership of the results they’re trying to improve.
Seems simple enough. But what strategies can you implement right now to get them excited? Here are five.
1. Communicate the ‘Why’ Behind Accounting Procedures
It’s likely that you have specific procedures for invoicing, expense tracking, time tracking, and even billing. You may record transactions manually or use software. Or, perhaps you choose to only record transactions when cash changes hands as opposed to the accrual method.
Regardless, you know why you follow those procedures, and why you don’t take shortcuts. But employees may not understand.
They may feel like the procedures are unnecessarily long, and seek shortcuts or make that paperwork the lowest priority task on their list, wholly apart from their “real work.”
You can create a connection between accounting and paperwork, and their work by explaining the reason behind the process. For example: “The reason we want to accept online payments is because our customers appreciate convenience and it speeds up how quickly we get paid.”
If they understand, they’ll be more inclined to follow through. They may even have ideas for improvements! More importantly, if you connect that procedure to a positive result, you’ll engage them in the process.
Assume you want the sales team to complete travel expense reports once a month, for example. And you need them to provide an itemized breakdown in your accounting software before sending it to the financial manager.
Some staff may take shortcuts and ask if they can send only the total, without a detailed breakdown. Others simply won’t get around to it.
The key here is to help them understand that completing the paperwork in a timely and accurate fashion helps everyone know exactly where the business stands. It’s also crucial to control costs that may otherwise creep in over time.
2. Make a Habit of Sharing Visibility and Insights
As a leader, it’s essential to share your business goals, priorities and performance with employees. Put simply, they should never be left to wonder: How’s our business doing?
Moreover, you should also help employees understand the link between the priorities and the work they’re doing.